Belgium had a performance below expectations but secured the victory at the right moment.
In the last match of this Wednesday in the World Cup, a duel between Belgium and Canada fulfilled the expectations regarding a possible balance due to the characteristics of the two selections.
Canada started with Alphonse Davies and Buchanan being the main options for speed and creation, but the surprise was the absence of left-back Adekugbe, with Holiett starting.
On the other side, Belgium had Dendoncker starting the World Cup at center back on the right. Castagne and Carrasco on the wings. Finally, Batshuayi inherited the spot from the injured Lukaku.
The greatest expectation was due to the attitude of the Canadians in front of a team of the highest level of European football. Canada did not change its characteristics and came in putting a lot of pressure on it.
Avoiding the defense being demanded, Canada bothered Belgium a lot in several moments of the first half, and Roberto Martínez’s team is used to the lack of aggressiveness.
Alphonso Davies was positioned on the wing in a 5-2-3 tactical formation (with variations to 3-4-2-1), with Buchanan and Hoilett on the wing. The Bayern Munich winger usually plays as a midfielder, where he plays with greater freedom.
However, the referees made a considerable mistake in not considering a probable penalty from Vertonghen in the final stretch of the first half. The move came after Courtois saved Alphonso Davies, in a spectacular intervention by the Belgian goalkeeper.
Canada had a great performance in the first half, but Belgium were fatal and took advantage of their only way to open the scoring: Alderweireld’s launches.
In the second half, Belgium took advantage of Canada’s physical fatigue after 60 minutes. Belgium put pressure on, moved up the lines and completed more passes. Greater control of ball possession was also decisive to ensure greater peace of mind, especially on counterattacks.
Belgium needs to improve its performance as a whole to continue in this World Cup believing in a strong campaign. Meanwhile, Canada will need greater concentration to take advantage of the opportunities created and guarantee an advantage on the scoreboard.
Sports journalist, content writer and passionate football lover.